I'm a Monster, I'm a Flower, I'm Everything at Once

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Saturday, July 23, 2022

Over the past few months, while strolling through Central Park or power walking down Wall Street, you may have noticed the curious presence of  gorgeously hideous, mythic beings—a furry claw here, a slobbery tongue there. And if you hadn’t noticed, prepare to be awakened to the many creatures lurking within and around us. Here there be monsters, lovingly conjured and crafted by members of YAI Arts. 

YAI Arts is a nonprofit offering full-time studio access and support to a passionate group of adult visual artists with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through drawing, painting, costuming, sculpture, puppetry, and more, the artists externalize their interior worlds and communicate lived perspectives that are often silenced and ignored. Their upcoming exhibition, I’m a Monster, I’m a Flower, I’m Everything at Once is a collaboration with Access Programs at MoMA and teaching artist Lexy Ho-Tai. 

As springtime blossomed, YAI artists gazed into the mirror and awakened their very own monster, each baptizing their beastly being with names, powers, fears, and desires. They embarked on a journey with their monstrous alter-egos: building masks and costumes from discarded materials, embodying the creatures with their own gestures and voices, and posing for portraits around New York City. An amorous goblin girl lounges in a rose garden while a two-headed ghoul munches on rainbow cake at The Plaza Hotel. 

The artists’ creative practices were bolstered by bi-weekly sessions with MoMA’s Access Programs. Exploring MoMA’s collection sparked dialogues on identity, disguise, surrealism, and the grotesque. Artworks by Leonora Carrington, Frida Kahlo, Guadalupe Maravilla, and Joseph Cornell roused the artists’ imaginations and influenced their organically evolving processes. 

The resulting exhibition is part bedroom, part garden, part portal to another world. Monsters live alongside mutant flowers and other hybrid creatures in a space dedicated to self expression, otherness, liberation, and fearlessness. A shrine to monsters and all they have to teach us, this body of work is a testament to the shapeshifting nature of identity and the exaltation of difference as beauty. 

 

Location: 
The Museum of Modern Art Education Center, Mezzanine The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building 4 West 54 Street, New York Please use this entrance to receive free admission to the exhibition July 23, 2022 - September 30, 2022 Opening Party on Saturday, July 23 from 1:00–3:00 p.m.
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